<<< Return to the Historical Archive page of parliamentary elections results for IRAN (ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF)<<<

  Majles Shoraye Eslami
Dates of election / renewal (from/to):
  20 February 2004
Purpose of elections:
  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.
Background and outcome of elections:
  On 13 December 2003 the registration of candidates began for the general election that took place on 20 February 2004. The main reformist party in the country, the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), announced that it might boycott the election if too many of its members were barred from standing by the Council of Guardians, an unelected body, responsible among other things, for ensuring compatibility between legislation and Islam.

On 11 January 2004, the Guardian Council published its list of disqualifications, which included some 3,600 candidates. President Mohammad Khatami intervened demanding that all those banned be reinstated but the Council of Guardians only reinstated a third of them. This provoked the resignation of 109 members of Parliament who had asked for the full reinstatement of all banned candidates. Some 80 sitting MPs, including some of the country's best known politicians, were among the candidates barred by the Council of Guardians.

The Minister of the Interior asked for the elections to be postponed but the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who can override all other authorities of the country, ruled that the elections should be held as scheduled. President Khatami could not challenge this ruling as it would have meant questioning the foundation of the Islamic Republic. He rather urged voters to go to the polls. This move disappointed many reformists who had hoped he would refuse to endorse the elections unless they were free and fair. Some reformist groups even campaigned for a low turnout in order to challenge the legitimacy of the new Parliament. Some of the country's best-known intellectuals and journalists also called for a boycott, accusing the hardliners of widespread clampdown.

The Speaker of the outgoing Parliament, Mehdi Karrubi, openly criticised the supervisory role of the Council of Guardians in elections and called for changes in the country's election law. He claimed that when the Council of Guardians was created, it was only supposed to ensure the compatibility of legislation with Islam, but the wording of the Constitution was vague in key places and allowed the Council to interpret it. According to Mr. Karrubi, the Council initially made sure that wrongly disqualified people were allowed to stand as candidates but a more interventionist tendency became apparent in 1990 and the Council had displayed its political inclination from the 1992
parliamentary elections onward.

Some 46,351,032 persons were eligible to vote. This figure excluded the population of the city of Bam that was devasted by an earthquake on 26 December 2003. The ban of the reformist candidates together with disillusionment with politics apparently discouraged voters. The outgoing Parliament dominated by reformist parliamentarians who had won all major national elections since 1997.

According to official results, the turnout was only 50.57 per cent, the lowest for a major election in the 25-year history of the Islamic Republic. In the capital, Teheran, turnout was around 30 per cent.

Conservative candidates obtained some 149 of the 290 seats in Parliament, which gave them the absolute majority, while the reformists only won some 40 seats. Mr. Mehdi Karrubi pulled out of the race as he had not obtained a seat in the first round.
Round no 1 (20 February 2004): Election results
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
Round no 1: Distribution of votes
Political Group Candidates Votes %  
Conservative Parties  
Reformist Parties  
Round no 1: Distribution of seats
Political Group Total
Conservative Parties 156
Reformist Parties 39
Independents 31
Preliminary results.
64 seats will be allocated in the second round.

Distribution of seats according to sex:
Men: 281
Women: 9
Percent of women: 3.10
Distribution of seats according to age:
Distribution of seats according to profession:


<<< Return to the Historical Archive page of parliamentary elections results for IRAN (ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF)<<<

Copyright © 1996-2007 Inter-Parliamentary Union